Soup-er pumpkin power

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It was the eve of Halloween and James’ final day on call (meaning he can’t be more than 15 minutes away from a computer with internet access) so we decided to carve pumpkins and being one not to waste, use the flesh to make pumpkin soup.

The pumpkin carving was quite straight forward, James put a lot more effort into his into making it scary whilst I tried to make mine look friendly.

I sent James on an adventure to the Bake-haus and he purchased some of their delicious yoghurt bread although he only went and forgot to get a bloody stamp on the loyalty card. It made me a little sad but the tastiness of the bread quickly cheered me up.

20161030_201754-collageIngredients (serves 4)

  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Onion – 1
  • Pumpkin flesh – 750g chopped
  • Vegetable stock – 550ml
  • Double creme – 100ml (although you can probably use creme fraiche instead)
  • Bacon lardons – 180g packet
  • Cumin and chilli powder to taste, potentially try nutmeg as well

 

Method

  1. Put olive oil into pot and add onions, cook for 5-10 mins on low heat until soft
  2. Add half the bacon lardons to pot
  3. Add pumpkin and cook for 5 mins
  4. Add vegetable stock, cook with lid on for 10 mins
  5. Add double creme
  6. Add cumin and chill powder
  7. Use a hand blender and puree the mixture
  8. Pass through a sieve
  9. Pour into bowls
  10. Heat remaining half of lardons and top the soup with these
  11. Eat with some delicious bread!

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Matcha cupcakes

After a leisurely lie in and a hearty breakfast involving porridge and home-grown raspberries, we decided to make matcha cupcakes for a dessert and treat feast we will be attending later today.

I had already decided that we would make matcha cupcakes as we still somehow have matcha left over from our travels.

Matcha cupcakes mmmmmmm
Matcha cupcakes mmmmmmm

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

Cupcake

  • 110g butter  softened at room temperature
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • a few grams of matcha (for colour and some flavour)
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 12-hole cake tin with paper cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale.
  3. Beat in the eggs a little at a time and stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Fold in the flour, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Put the mixture into the paper cases until they are half full.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (13 in our example), or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into one of the cakes comes out clean.
  6. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
  7. Sieve icing sugar and matcha into a big bowl. Add a little water at a time until a thick spreading consistency. Put onto cupcakes and add sprinkles to decorate.
    Butter it up
    Butter it up
    The creaming begins, luckily with have a kmix to do it for us
    The creaming begins, luckily with have a kmix to do it for us
    Flour and most importantly, matcha
    Flour and most importantly, matcha
    An ice cream scoop makes it easy to put it into the cases
    An ice cream scoop makes it easy to put it into the cases

    Easy icing (we found buttercream didn't work so well with these cupcakes)
    Easy icing (we found buttercream didn’t work so well with these cupcakes)

Chocolate mousse and decisions

Today I took a midweek day off work and tested out the KMix’s ability at making chocolate mousse and it was a success.

Chocolate mousse - light and airy
Chocolate mousse – light and airy

The ingredients were (for 3/4 people):

  • 85g dark chocolate (we used 72% cooking chocolate although next time we will upgrade to a nicer bar)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • a tiny portion of coffee granules (we used 1/4 tsp and it was too much)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 50g 0%-fat Greek yogurt
  • raspberries to decorate

It was incredibly quick and easy to make, we simply:

  1. Put chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee and vanilla with 1.5 tbsp cold water into a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir and once melted, remove from the heat.
  2. The melted chocolate mix will be quite thick, stir in 1.5 tbsp boiling water and the chocolate will immediately thin down and become silky smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk the egg whites to fairly soft peaks (Kmix level 4 for a minute or so), then whisk in the sugar until thick and glossy.
  4. Beat the yogurt into the cooled chocolate quickly (otherwise the chocolate can separate).
  5. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon, then very gently fold in the rest of the whites until they are evenly mixed in (be careful not to over-mix or you will lose the volume of the mousse).
  6. Spoon into 4 small cups and chill for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  7. Top with a few raspberries before serving (it will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge). James decided to add granola to his for extra crunch. [Editors note: Granola recipe coming soon when we remember]

Whilst waiting for the chocolate mousse to set, we tried to go to a new restaurant on King’s street that served food on ‘boats’. Unfortunately we got there and it wasn’t open so I finally got to try Eat Tokyo, delicious food at really reasonable prices. We also checked out the ‘Decision’ exhibition by Carsten Holler at the Hayward Gallery. This involved walking through a dark corridor, fake gliding/flying, and a fun bumpy slide to exit. Our favourite part of the exhibit were glasses which flipped our view of the world upside down, it was very confusing and amusing.

Fake gliding/flying along the Southbank, this was 'art'
Fake gliding/flying along the Southbank, this was ‘art’